Dan Severn, one of the biggest stars in both amateur wrestling and combat wrestling, was selected as the Frank Gotch Award winner for 2002.
Severn was a high school sensation in Michigan, setting a national record for consecutive pins and winning the World Junior title in 1977. He was a three-time All-American at Arizona State University, and was an alternate on the 1984 Olympic team.
After coaching at Michigan State University, Severn entered an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and stunned the experts by going to the finals. He eventually became UFC champion and the biggest star in the new style of sport.
At the same time, the former All-American was wrestling professional and won the NWA world title, the very same title owned by Gotch, from 1908 to 1915. Severn runs a wrestling school and still competes as a pro wrestler and UFC-style competitor. In addition, he has won over 90 major amateur titles, and is a black belt in judo and sombo.